Lately I've been plagued by haunting thoughts of abandonment. Call it separation anxiety or perhaps an adverse affect of emotional distancing, but I can't seem to shake it. You're probably thinking I'm just babbling on about an old girlfriend or perhaps the absence of a new season of Dexter-the best show on cable by the way-but no, I'm actually referring to my hatchback. This car has seen everything from daily driving to drag racing, from road racing to car shows, even certain [cough, cough] street activities partaken in during my younger, not to mention dumber, days. I must admit though, recently I've been neglecting my pride and joy, which got me thinking. Now hear me out because I think a good chunk of the Honda community might relate since I've heard it time and time again.
A Brief History
I purchased my '93 Civic in late 2001. I sold my 1.9L-powered CRX after getting into far too much trouble with it and purchased the Civic with the intention of "keeping it stock." Well, a full suspension, a color change, a new set of wheels and an engine swap later, I was completely sucked back in. The car served as my only mode of transportation, my reliable daily driver for years and I took her everywhere. Fast forward five or six years and, along with multiple engines, suspension changes and another new color, things in SoCal have changed right along with it. My seat time had all but diminished and it seems like weeks before I get to start her up and rip through the local back roads to stretch her legs. Why would I ignore such a fun ride that relieves stress and puts a smile on my face for the mere price of a tank full of gas? The two reasons that echo in my mind are simply theft and time.
Supply And Demand's Ugly Side
Car theft, more specifically Civic and Integra theft, has skyrocketed over the past few years. In order to keep my project going, I purchased a daily driver in hopes of sparing my Civic's life. Though I've heard the story a million times, it still amazes me that BMWs, Audis and Lotuses are reasonably safe in crowded mall parking lots while econo-box Civics with alarms, removable steering wheels and kill switches are considered sitting ducks, just begging to be picked off.
Those who've tinkered with Hondas for a while probably remember the late '90s, when the ITR first hit U.S. shores. Though it was a huge event for Honda fans stateside, the R's theft rate scared just about every owner, even in smaller towns previously unfamiliar with Honda theft. The reason was simple, just about everything that is Type R could be swapped into or onto any run-of-the-mill Civic or lesser model Integra. As with any market, if people are willing to buy stolen parts, a black market inventory will make itself available. The trend has continued throughout the years as project cars have become more intricate and, as owners have employed higher ticket upgrades to complete their builds, the risk factors have increased as thieves see easy targets that will pay out handsomely.
Father Time Is Catching Up
Aside from theft, another complaint I hear from the older Honda guys is lack of time. With a family, significant other, a ton of work or all of the above, some simply don't have the time to hit the track or even cruise to the local hangout to enjoy at least a little seat time. For those younger readers who can't relate to this, that's understandable. I couldn't either. That is until I woke up one day and realized I was old. Priorities often need to be adjusted and that unfortunately means something must suffer as a result.
The reality is I don't drive my car nearly enough. In my eyes, a project car is meant to be driven and driven hard, not collect dust in a storage garage. A part of me would love to drive it every day, as I'm sure most would, but I have to face the facts. That luxury is long gone for me. Unfortunately, she sits in storage during the week, sometimes for two or three, without budging while I hustle and bustle through life's daily demands and search for time to jump back in that driver's seat. Though switching from an automatic Honda Element to a 2.0L Civic is enough to improve anyone's weekend, I sincerely miss scooting through San Diego's overused freeways, using my little project hatchback to make my work day that much more tolerable.- RodrezContact: firstname.lastname@example.org